Invitation to San Francisco Flash Mob #1

July 14th, 2003

Someone has distributed an invitation to what will be the first San Francisco flash mob; I’ve pasted it below as it was e-mailed to me.

IMPORTANT NOTE: After the flash mob, please don’t head directly to the BART (subway) station. Part of a flash mob’s beauty is that it dissolves immediately; everyone heads off in different directions, leaving onlookers completely confused. Because this event will take place near a BART stop in an area with almost no available parking, most participants will arrive by BART and will tend to leave by BART. But if everyone heads to the Powell BART station at once, the mob will stay together, destroying that tasty mob-disappearance effect. So if you’re taking part, at 6:37 depart in a direction OTHER THAN towards the BART. Just stroll up to Chinatown, or go grab a beer at your favorite Tenderloin bar, or just take a walk around the block.

(If you’re wondering what a flash mob is, see this entry for an explanation.)

Here’s the announcement for the first San Francisco flash mob:

You are invited to take part in MOB, the project that creates an
inexplicable mob of people in San Francisco for ten minutes or
less. Please forward this to other people you know who might
like to join.

Start time: Wednesday, July 16th, 6:27 pm
Duration: 10 minutes

(1) At some point during the day on July 16th, synchronize your
watch to

(2) By 6 PM, based on the month of your birth, please situate
yourselves in the bars below. Buy a drink and act casual. If you
are attending the MOB with friends, you may all meet in the same
bar, so long as at least one of you has the correct birth month for
that bar. January, February, March, April: Union Square Sports
Bar near Powell and O’Farrell. May, June, July, August: Gold
Dust Lounge near Geary and Powell. September,October,
November, December: Red’s Corner at Ellis and Mason.

(3) Then or soon thereafter, a MOB representative will appear in
the bar. He or she will pass around slips of paper with your
instructions. Commit the instructions to memory and put the slip

(4) Leave the bar and walk to the MOB site. If you arrive near the
final MOB destination before 6:27, stall nearby. NO ONE

(5) The MOB begins at the designated location at 6:27.

(6) At 6:37 you should disperse. NO ONE SHOULD REMAIN AT

(7) Return to what you would otherwise have been doing.

* * * * SPECIAL NOTE: We need FOUR VOLUNTEERS to assist
in passing out instructions. Please reply only if:
(1) You will absolutely positively 100% be at the MOB and can be
in the area by 5:30 on Wednesday.
(2) You are not a squealy.
(3) You are not concerned that passing out small slips of paper
may harm your future chances to run for office.
(4) Your initials are not L.G. (you know who you are)

If you meet the above criteria and would like to volunteer, send a
message with your cell phone number to

-The San Francisco Mob Project
(writing credit to “Bill”)


16 Responses to “Invitation to San Francisco Flash Mob #1”

  1. comment number 1 by: danielle

    are you changing this to be flashmobbikini?

    your blog cracks me up. what else have you been up to?

  2. comment number 2 by: flashmobbikini

    Article on BBC.CO.UK about flashmobs:

  3. comment number 3 by: None

    OK, so this MOB project thing was so interesting, fun, freeing, comical, amazing and so many other things all at the same time I can’t find the words to sum it up in a short paragraph. I went not knowing if I was actually going to take part and was just sucked in by the whole thing. (As were others, but more about that later.)

    I heard about this about the concept of a Flash Mob about 2 or 3 weeks ago. Read all the articles about the New York Mobs and what they were about, and learned there was one coming to SF in mid July. “Interesting.” I thought. “I’d like to check that out.” So I signed up on the Yahoo group that had been set up. It told me there would be instructions coming soon. A week later the group was gone. Shut down by Yahoo? The organizer? “Da man?” I did not know. All I knew was nothing gained, nothing lost.

    On July 11th I received an invitation to join a yahoo group. I joined and waited. It was locked up tight so I could not post a message asking more details about it. On Sunday the 13th instructions were sent out. Basically they said go to one of three bars near Union Square on Wednesday the 16th at 6:00 and wait for further instructions. So my wife and I met a couple friends there, one of which was the person who invited me originally. I told my wife if they tell me to drink the Coolaid I was out of there.

    At about 5:55 or 6:00 a girl started handing out half sheets of paper. It stated that at 6:20 we were to head down to the cable car turn-around at the end of Powell and linger about so we don’t attract attention, then at exactly 6:27 go to the large crosswalk on market and wait for the crossing signal. When it changes green cross market, but you are to spin clockwise with your arms stretched out. If the DO NOT CROSS signal comes on we were to wait for the next crossing as to not block traffic. If someone asks what you’re doing make something up. Examples were “I lost my wallet” or “I’m on a school field trip.” Just don’t mention anything about the mob project. At 6:37 everyone disburses in different directions without a trace. Simple enough.

    So we leave our designated bar and can see that the other bars were already unloading onto Powell and heading for the cable car turn-around. A huge group. People heading up market wove in and out fighting the flow of bodies like salmon returning to their breading waters.

    We got there at almost exactly 6:27 so we headed for the crosswalk, waited for the green and crossed. There were so many people you could not outstretch your arms to the sides so everyone put them straight up in the air. For some reason, as if it was part of the instructions, as everyone made their first pass across Market they let out a “Whoooooooooooooooooooo” sound. I came naturally and once we reached the other side everyone giggled. It was like everyone had reverted to the age of 8. Not everyone made it across and after a couple of passes the group was almost evenly divided on either side of the street. When crossing it was difficult to not bump into people. Some did this purpose but lightly in a childish sort of way. I was bumped in the forehead with an elbow but it was unintentional and didn’t hurt.

    A man in a gray suit walked up to me and my friend and, thinking he was funny, asked “So….. what’s going on here? I must have missed the memo.” My friend could not keep a straight face and turned away. With a serious look I said “We’re looking for our dog, have you seen him?” He replied “No, really. What are you doing?” Urgently I said “He’s about this big. A little brown Poodle. We can’t find him. Have you seen him?” With a confused look he walked away.

    The first three times I was on the North side of Market I noticed two girls about 19 years old standing there taking the whole thing in and smiling. They looked shocked, amused and curious all at the same time. I crossed Market back to the south side and while waiting for the signal to change again someone asked “I wonder if somebody was just walking by and decided to join in.” From behind me a voice says “I did!” I turn and one of the girls had joined our Mob. Everyone cheered.

    At one point we heard a siren. My first thought was it’s “The Man” coming to smack down the law on us. But instead it was an ambulance racing down market. As it passed the two groups on either side of Market cheered and clapped. I found this a little disturbing but let it go.

    In the end, the Mob disbursed at exactly 6:37 as requested and everyone went his or her separate ways. This was a little sad as we had met a girl named Sarah (with an `H’) at the bar beforehand. She took a few pictures for us. My wife tried to find her but had no luck.

  4. comment number 4 by: MaxDuo

    This is the most stupid thing I have ever heard of.

  5. comment number 5 by: Undamaged Goods

    This drives the point home it’s possible to take advantage of stupid people. I bet the person that came up with this is laughing his ass off that people actuially were stupid enough to do this sort of thing.

    I’m sorry anybody that participated, but I think your part of a practical joke.

  6. comment number 6 by: Choire

    oh, live a little, ya jade. life is all about participating in good practical jokes.

  7. comment number 7 by: Cat G.

    Hey, is there a way we can get in on the next flashmob? Is someone still organizing these and sending out emails? I’d be completely interested in the next San Francisco mob (or Sacramento for that matter)…

  8. comment number 8 by: Patricia

    Just heard about Flash Mobs. How can I learn when they are going to happen in my area (San Francisco Bay Area…Berkeley)? I’d like to be a part of it! Thanks!

  9. comment number 9 by: me

    interested in a flash mob near davis or sacramento, ca.

  10. comment number 10 by: DIVER

    Are there any mobs planned soon for S.F. again? I want to be involved! How can I join?? Or do you just look for invites on Cheese??

  11. comment number 11 by: Will Evans

    How can I find out about Sacramento-area mobs? Thanks!

  12. comment number 12 by: Matt

    I happened to be in SF and walking down Market when this happened. I had no idea what it was, but it was cool. I’m really suprised that I came across this site. Now I know.

  13. comment number 13 by: kathlene montgomery

    this sounds like a blast!!

    I wanna go!

    how do we get on the list?

    when will sacramento have one?



  14. comment number 14 by: Sarah

    Berkeley flash mob?

    Or would it be too normal for Berkeley?

    I’d be down for any in the Bay Area!

    Someone post a new one! Quick!

  15. comment number 15 by: spoony

    I am so down with this concept. It just plain rocks. It makes people think, and then wonder what they are really thinking about. This is the real juice.

    Lemme know when another goes down. I’m in.

  16. comment number 16 by: stubert


    i recently heard about these as well and want to organize one, however, i need people to plan with! creative people, somewhat childish people, and anyone with experience in this sort of thing would be a definate plus. lol. actually, all i’m really looking for are people who would DEFINATELY be down to do this. CONTACT ME ASAP!!!! never commented on one of these before and i’m not sure if i am allowed to leave contact info, but hopefully some of you will see it before it is removed (if not allowed). TELL YOUR FRIENDS!!!



    i will be putting out the word elsewhere. expect a mob SOON!